Tuesday, July 28, 2009

How small businesses can boom with word-of-mouth: here's one example

While lots of businesses are announcing massive staff cuts, Lee Davies, the proprietor of Salon Lavan, is looking to put on more staff because her business is growing at a phenomenal rate. The small hairdressing salon is fielding calls and acquiring new customers from all over Melbourne - simply because people have heard that she provides a brilliant service. How do they find out? Word of mouth on the web – otherwise known as womow.com.au. Based in Elsternwick, Salon Lavan is getting calls from Essendon, Emerald, Keilor, Croydon and even further afield. Who’d have thought that people would travel 40km and more just for a haircut! But this business demonstrates just how powerful word-of-mouth - and the promise of a good haircut - can be.

Davies first heard about WOMOW when a customer mentioned that they’d rated her business after having a haircut. Soon enough, new enquiries started coming in, leading Davies to take a proactive role and begin encouraging customer ratings.

Davies says; “The best advertising comes from my customers – they write what they think of my services and suddenly I’m getting enquiries from all over town! I’ve built this business on word-of-mouth with WOMOW. ” Having customer ratings at an independent source is extremely convincing for people that value good service. These days she says the salon is averaging 12 new clients a week that find them on www.womow.com.au.

So how does she get such great feedback? Davies runs her business with a simple but effective philosophy – “treat people well and do a good job”. It’s an old-fashioned approach, but combined with an easy way for her customers to spread the word around, it works. She started the business four years ago but has “seen a lot more growth in the last year since being part of WOMOW’s Happy Customers Program”. Salon Lavan currently has over 20 customer ratings and they encourage more by giving customers flyers which explain the importance of their feedback. “Our customers are happy with us, so they usually don’t mind spending a couple of minutes letting others know about their experience.” Davies knows that the more favourable ratings they have, the more exposure they get on the web (both on WOMOW.com. au and on Google).

There’s also plenty of research to back up Salon Lavan’s experience with word-of-mouth marketing. One study showed that almost two-thirds (62%) of consumers read consumer-written reviews on the internet to make purchase decisions (Deloitte & Touche, 2007). While another showed that 78% of people trust other consumers’ recommendations above all other types of advertising and marketing (Nielsen, 2007). That’s pretty powerful stuff – especially when you consider that the cost is almost nothing. What business can afford not to be implementing an online word-of-mouth strategy?


Got a story about how word-of-mouth or WOMOW is helping your business? We’d love to hear – please email support@womow.com.au or call us on 1300 496 669.